Guitar maestro Chris Caffery is known for playing with Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Savatage, Spirits Of Fire, and on his solo albums. He is also involved with three outside enterprises. For nearly a decade, he has been a partner in the hot sauce company High River Sauces. He also sells art and jewelry that he makes from sea glass. And his stuffed animal mascot Wilbur The Metalphant is a social media celebrity that has spawned a line of 300 different items -- clothing, clocks, glasses, school supplies, and more. Many of the proceeds from these latter two endeavors go to children's cancer and elephant sanctuary charities. I called Chris at his home in Orange County, New York via Skype for our podcast, and he displayed as much passion and enthusiasm for these endeavors as he does for his music. All of these pursuits bring him joy.
As lead guitarist and co-founding member of Uriah Heep, the ever-jovial Mick Box has been a driving force behind the British rock icons for nearly 50 years. Their latest album Living The Dream is a strong studio release with memorable tunes and insightful lyrics. Outside of music, Mick is a big fan of British football – or, as we call it in America, soccer – and since childhood, he has rooted for the team Tottenham Hotspur. We met prior to the band's show at The Paramount in Huntington, New York to talk about his love for the sport, which also lead us to discussing American football as well as other places Mick has lived outside of England. (Photo credit: Richard Stow.)
Metal shrieker Dani Filth has traveled the globe for a quarter-century spreading the gothic black metal gospel of his band Cradle of Filth. The British group's latest album, Cryptoriana - The Seductiveness Of Decay, is their best in a decade. On top of the unusual gifts bequeathed to him by devout fans, everything from homemade dolls to large animal skulls, Dani loves to collect toys, paintings, and antiques. Backstage at The Paramount in Huntington, New York, we discuss our mutual love of collecting and the fascinating finds he has amassed throughout his life. He also reveals how he was quietly outbid by a major Britpop figure for a "hideous" piece of pop art he discovered at random in a British antiques store. (Photo credit: Artūrs Bērziņš.)
Ash Costello and her New Years Day bandmates Austin Ingerman, Nikki Misery, and Frankie Sil mine a dark, heavy sound that has embraced a pop-metal approach on their solid new album Unbreakable. For this episode, we speak about their mutual love for horror movies as well as her advocacy for animal rescue. Conducted at the offices of RED Music in NYC, our conversation stretches from the singer's intense childhood ("I was too dark, too young") to her leg tattoos, their spooky band adventures, thoughts on a group horror film, her stance against animal breeding, and how she adopted her pets. (Photo credit: Hristo Shindov.)
Guitarist Alex Skolnick is known for his musical prowess in both heavy metal (Testament, Metal Allegiance) and jazz (The Alex Skolnick Trio). He also loves books, so I thought it would be fitting to meet him at the Strand Book Store in NYC to discuss all things literary. We wander the stacks, from fiction to pulp fiction to rare books, to discuss his favorite authors, titles, how he reads and even where. Our chat spans the gamut from the obscure to the popular, and we discover some great finds in the process. (Photo credit: Evelyn Steiweg.)
French electronic music pioneer Jean-Michel Jarre has toured the globe, sold an estimated 80 million albums, and holds the Guinness Book record for largest outdoor concert attendance (3.5 million people). He's also a down-to-earth person who loves painting, sci-fi, and movies. In this episode, we discuss those Side Jams and how they relate to his career. He and I also explore how artists engage the world, from our ever escalating aspirations to keeping up with the constant barrage of new releases. This interview was conducted in the rooftop bar of the Knickerbocker Hotel in NYC. (Photo credit: Greg Rybczynski.)
Welcome to the debut of "Side Jams"! Joining me for this inaugural episode is Roger Craig Smith. You've heard this talented voice actor play many signature roles in animated shows, films, and video games over the years -- Batman, Captain America, Sonic the Hedgehog, Kylo Ren, and many, many more. When he's not cavorting with the voices inside his head, the L.A.-based actor loves to gaze at the stars, particularly from a place he has in the Tehachapi Mountains of Southern California. Here, he discusses his passion for astronomy, rocketry, and space travel, delving into the high-tech innovations that have enhanced his stargazing experience, along with sharing his views on NASA, Elon Musk, and more.